In moving to our new neighborhood, it became quickly clear that this community is service oriented. At least, fundraising opportunities abound – both for community-based programs and for the like that support school-based activities. Our new church (or my “old” one, having spent my elementary and high school years there) was no different. The service activity I accompanied my middle school daughter to a few weeks ago, however? That certainly was.
Most of the time, when I think of supporting a community with sustenance, I think of canned food drives. In the past, I’ve written about food drives we’ve hosted at family gatherings, or my volunteer work at a food pantry in Boston during the pandemic. But at Feed My Starving Children, we did something completely different.
We were handed hair nets when we walked through the door. We were instructed to remove all jewelry and told to wash our hands well. Then, we were taught how to bag the rice mix that had been formulated to support starving people and nurse them back to health.
We assembled in groups of six or seven in stations in the workroom, manning individual spots in order to scoop in the vitamins, vegetables, soy and rice that we weighed and bagged, sealing each before loading a box that would be shipped to receiving distributors. Kids as young as six participated, standing on overturned wooden crates in order to reach the activity. My daughter joined one group. I joined another, and we quickly got to work.
In just one hour (maybe less), the sixty-odd volunteers prepped and boxed over 18,000 meals. Now that’s an assembly line! Afterwards, we gathered in the warehouse to pray over the boxes that would be shipped to South Sudan where they would be received by a group called Reach International and distributed to those in need.
I had previously prepared food for others (most consistently with Community Cooks in Cambridge), but this was food prep on a whole other scale.
Feed My Starving Children is not a huge organization, but they are helping relieve hunger in the way they know how, stating that 98% of their deliveries reach their destinations.
That night, I was glad to have been a part of their work.
Here you will find a catalog of my writing and reflections.